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IRC One Victory for Final Call II at Royal Ulster Yacht Club Autumn Series on Belfast Lough

2nd November 2022
John Minnis’ A35 Final Call II was the IRC 1 and NHC winner of the Royal Ulster Yacht Club Autumn Series on Belfast Lough
John Minnis’ A35 Final Call II was the IRC 1 and NHC winner of the Royal Ulster Yacht Club Autumn Series on Belfast Lough

Some would say that there were better racing conditions at the end of the 2022 season for the Royal Ulster Yacht Club Autumn Series than during the summer.

A total of 13 boats in two classes competed over nine races in the RUYC series on Belfast Lough. Top in IRC 1 and NHC unrestricted was John Minnis’ Final Call II with a clean sheet of results and in Whitesail, it was the relaunched Sigma 33 Starshine Challenger under the new owners' Garth and Paul Finlay and Ian Blair in first overall.

After a full set of first places in nine strong IRC 1 class John Minnis said, “While we were delighted to win every race in the A35, the competition was really close”. And although the points difference was marked, the racing was particularly intense between the first three, with the O’Tiarnaigh/Mullholland/Harrington trio in the IMX 38 Excession and the Carrickfergus Corby 29 entry Elixir owned by Brian and Ryan Wilson.

The Royal Ulster Yacht Club Autumn series on Belfast LoughThe Royal Ulster Yacht Club Autumn Series on Belfast Lough

The Final Call II team enjoyed the fact that there was very little light weather. “It was fantastic racing” said owner John Minnis. “The best racing of the season, both on the windward/leeward course and the last day’s round the buoys”.

Asked what his plans are for next season, he said that Final Call II will be at Kip Regatta on 13th and 14th May, the first ‘Major’ event of the season on the Clyde. Then in his sights is the Scottish Series which is returning to Tarbert over the May bank holiday in the classic Friday to Monday format, starting on Friday the 26th of May.  After all that activity, there’s the massive Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta on 6th – 9th July

Only three points separated the top two in the less well-supported four-strong Whitesail division. The Sigma 33 Starshine Challenger, which had been out of the water for some years, was back with a bang and never scoring less than third; finished three points ahead of Andrew Kennedy’s Dufour 34 Jacada, who missed two races but used one as a discard. In third place was the Oceanis 37, Merry Jack (Bell, Bell and Lawther) who had missed three races and had to count two of them.

Gavin Watson, RUYC Hon Sailing Secretary, was pleased to see the fleet out at this time of the year as racing has been affected due to Covid restrictions. “The series culminated in some exciting round the buoys racing in 20 knots of wind off the shore at RUYC. Congratulations to the winners and a big thank you to all the volunteers who helped provide the racing this year and RUYC is looking forward to continued good sailing in 2023”.

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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